Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Self-harm not always a sign of serious mental health problems

02.11.2012
Self-harm is common among young people. Many have at one time scratched, punctured or cut themselves or hit their head forcefully against a wall, and the behaviour is almost as common among boys as girls.

However, it may not be appropriate to compare young people who self-harm and adult psychiatric patients who self-harm. Knowledge is needed in order not to over-interpret the behaviour of the young people, according to psychologist Jonas Bjärehed, who has recently presented his thesis at Lund University in Sweden.

Jonas Bjärehed and his supervisor Lars Gunnar Lund carried out a survey of 1 000 young people in southern Sweden which showed that four out of ten young people had at some time intentionally hurt themselves. The researchers have now broken down the data and it appears that only a small minority of the young people self-harm on a regular basis and in a way that can be compared with self-harm in adults with mental health problems.

“It is important that school and health professionals know how to deal with young people who self-harm. They need to react appropriately and not judge all young people alike”, says Jonas Bjärehed. “For many of these young people, the behaviour seems to be fairly mild and often of a temporary nature. It may be viewed as a matter of experimentation or problems that are not of a serious nature.”

When Jonas Bjärehed began his research six years ago, knowledge about self-harm was limited among many professional groups that come into contact with young people. However, the situation is improving:

Nowadays, knowledge of eating disorders in young people is well established among school and health service staff. Jonas Bjärehed hopes that awareness of self-harm will also become as widespread. Even if all young people who self-harm do not suffer from mental illness, the behaviour can become a vicious circle: once a person has started, the risk is greater that they will continue and the self-harm causes their mental health to deteriorate.

Jonas Bjärehed calls self-harm the teenage disease of our day:
“It is not the first time young people worry those around them with new types of behaviour”, he says, giving the examples of the increase in eating disorders in the 1970s and 80s and the ‘hysterics’, who worried those around them at the turn of the last century by fainting for various reasons.

“Nowadays, we are grappling with the fact that many signs of stress and mental illness appear to be increasing in our society, especially among young people, without us really understanding why. The fact that many young people suffer mental health problems during a time in their lives when they are in the process of becoming adults and developing the skills they need to contribute to society has become a serious public health problem. An important challenge is to understand this trend and the signs of mental illness that we are seeing in young people, in order to be able to take the necessary measures to prevent it or provide help”, says Jonas Bjärehed.

For more information, please contact Jonas Bjärehed on +46 46 222 45 81, +46 702 608045 or email jonas.bjarehed@psychology.lu.se

Jonas Bjärehed defended his thesis on 28 September. The thesis is entitled Characteristics of Self-Injury in Young Adolescents: Findings from Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Studies in Swedish Schools.

Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://bjarehed.se/wp/?page_id=315

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Flexible sensors can detect movement in GI tract
11.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>